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21st Sep 2022

Woman hasn’t seen her husband in five years as he is banned from entering UK

Tobi Akingbade

The pair married three weeks after they first met

Sarah and Oluyemi Sholagbade, both 35, started talking online in April 2015. They then met face-to-face for the first time on April 1 2016 when she travelled to Nigeria and tied the knot just three weeks later on April 21.

The couple haven’t seen each other for five years because the husband is banned from entering the UK.

After a few trips to the continent for Sarah, Oluyemi decided to try for a UK visa so he could move to be with his wife. Sadly, his application was blocked, meaning the last time the couple saw each other was in March 2017.

Husband and wife have since spent more than £5,000 on legal aid to try and change the Home Office’s decision. But for now, Oluyemi is still stuck in Lagos, while Sarah lives more than 4,500 miles away in Wigan.

Sarah admitted that ‘it’s not easy’ but they stay in contact through WhatsApp, Facebook and video calls as well as TikTok.

She said: “I haven’t got back out to him again because first of all we were trying to pay the solicitors and then Covid hit and now the cost-of-living crisis and everything is going pear shaped.

“We’re trying to save up anything we can for me to go over there.”

Sarah and Oluyemi met online in April 2015 when she posted a video on Facebook and he commented. The pair quickly hit it off, with Oluyemi leaving his ex-partner to be with Sarah.

They spent a year getting to know each other via phone calls and say it started as a friendship that blossomed into a romance. A year after they first started talking, Sarah flew out to Nigeria in April 2016 and within a few days of being there, the pair decided to get married.

A few weeks later, they held a ceremony with Oluyemi’s family and friends however Sarah family was kept in the dark because she kept it a secret from them until she returned home.

They did not intended on being away from each other for long as Sarah flew out to Nigeria again in September. She managed to visit Oluyemi again in March 2017, with her husband organising a beach party and barbecue for her birthday. Little did they know that would sadly be the last time they would see each other as it all went downhill from there.

In 2016, Sarah first made a visa application on Oluyemi’s behalf, despite him asking her not to, but it was turned down due to him having insufficient funds to support himself in the UK. She then applied again for a UK visa for Oluyemi in 2017.

However, she claims she forgot she had previously applied and checked ‘no’ to a question asking if a visa had previously been requested for him. The Home Office declined the application as a result and since then the pair have focused all their time and money so they can be together.

Sarah explained that they both proposed to each other and that she wanted to get married “as soon as possible” and that when she returned to the UK in 2017, they we applied for him to come to the UK because “he’d never been here and it was about time he came”.

She added: “The question asked ‘have you ever applied to come to the UK before’ and I put no – I forgot I had previously applied. Since then, I’ve written to the Home Office to say it was my fault but no one has listened.

“We’ve paid for solicitors to try and overturn their decision but nothing has worked at all, we spent about £5,000 on solicitors and they’ve tried but they just can’t appeal it because it says you can’t appeal.

“Unless there is a change of circumstances, I can’t apply again.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases. All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules.”

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